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28 Ducks in Maine [Images + IDs]

In the beautiful landscapes of Maine, a lively group of ducks takes center stage, bringing charm and diversity to the region’s waters. From the peaceful lake shores to the meandering paths of coastal estuaries, these waterfowl capture the attention of both casual observers and devoted bird enthusiasts.

This article explores the intriguing world of Maine’s ducks, examining their nesting habits, dietary choices, and the conservation endeavors dedicated to protecting their habitats. Join us on a journey of discovery as we uncover the intricate lives of these feathered inhabitants, emphasizing their crucial role in Maine’s complex ecosystem.

List of Ducks in Maine

Mallard

Scientific name: Anas platyrhynchos
Life span: 5-10 years
Size: 50-65 cm (20-26 in)
Weight: 700-1600 g (1.5-3.5 lb)
Wingspan: 81-98 cm (32-39 in)
Status: Least Concern

The Mallard, a versatile and captivating duck species, is celebrated for its widespread presence across continents. Adorned with a vibrant green head, yellow bill, and intricate feather patterns, the Mallard brings brilliance to various habitats.

Mallard

Mallards prefer concealed nesting sites near water, often choosing vegetative cover for nest protection. Their adaptable diet includes aquatic plants, seeds, grains, insects, and small fish. Conservation efforts focused on wetland preservation have stabilized the Mallard’s population, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding vital wetland ecosystems.

Northern Pintail

Scientific name: Anas acuta
Life span: 10-15 years
Size: 56-66 cm (22-26 in)
Weight: 450-1150 g (1-2.5 lb)
Wingspan: 80-95 cm (31-38 in)
Status: Least Concern

The Northern Pintail, an elegant and distinct duck species, graces habitats across the Northern Hemisphere. With its long neck and pointed tail feathers, the Pintail stands out among avian counterparts, showcasing mesmerizing synchronized flights.

Northern Pintail

Preferring open, grassy areas for nesting, Northern Pintails feed on aquatic plants, seeds, and small invertebrates. Conservation endeavors aim to preserve their elegance and contribution to Maine’s avian mosaic.

Northern Shoveler

Scientific name: Spatula clypeata
Life span: 10-15 years
Size: 43-53 cm (17-21 in)
Weight: 400-1100 g (0.88-2.4 lb)
Wingspan: 74-86 cm (29-34 in)
Status: Least Concern

The Northern Shoveler, known for its spatula-shaped bill, is found across North America, Europe, and Asia. Boasting vibrant plumage, these ducks are skilled filter-feeders, scooping up food from the water’s surface.

Northern Shoveler

Nesting in shallow depressions near water, Northern Shovelers build nests in concealed sites, using down feathers for insulation. Their diet includes aquatic invertebrates, and conservation efforts focus on preserving wetland habitats crucial for their foraging.

Lesser Scaup

Scientific name: Aythya affinis
Life span: 12-15 years
Size: 38-48 cm (15-19 in)
Weight: 400-1000 g (0.88-2.2 lb)
Wingspan: 64-74 cm (25-29 in)
Status: Least Concern

Lesser Scaups, medium-sized diving ducks in North America and Eurasia, showcase striking black and white plumage. Exceptional divers, they can reach depths of up to 20 meters in search of aquatic invertebrates.

Lesser Scaup

Nesting in concealed sites within marshes and wetlands, Lesser Scaups have a diverse diet, including aquatic plants, insects, mollusks, and crustaceans. Conservation efforts focus on maintaining healthy wetland ecosystems for their breeding and feeding success.

American Wigeon

Scientific name: Mareca americana
Life span: 12-15 years
Size: 42-59 cm (17-23 in)
Weight: 600-1200 g (1.3-2.6 lb)
Wingspan: 76-91 cm (30-36 in)
Status: Least Concern

American Wigeons, migratory dabbling ducks breeding in North America, winter in Central and South America. With a mix of chestnut, gray, and white feathers, males feature a striking green eyepatch, earning them the nickname “baldpates.”

American Wigeon

Preferring concealed nesting sites near water, American Wigeons create nests in grassy areas for the protection of eggs and ducklings. Their varied diet includes aquatic plants, seeds, and small

Invertebrates play a crucial role in ecosystems, and conservation efforts underscore the importance of preserving and restoring habitats, particularly in wetlands and marshes.

Wood Duck

Scientific name: Aix sponsa

Life span: 5-10 years

Size: 48-54 cm (19-21 in)

Weight: 454-862 g (1-1.9 lb)

Wingspan: 66-73 cm (26-29 in)

Status: Least Concern

Wood Ducks, native to North America, showcase stunning colors. The males boast iridescent green, purple, and white plumage, while females exhibit more subtle brown and gray tones.

Fun fact: Wood Ducks stand out as the only North American duck species regularly producing two broods in a single nesting season, enhancing their reproductive success.

Wood Duck

They prefer nesting in tree hollows or artificial boxes near water bodies. Wood Ducks have a diverse diet, including aquatic plants, seeds, fruits, insects, small fish, and amphibians. Conservation initiatives, such as nesting boxes and wetland restoration, have contributed to their population recovery, highlighting the positive impact of habitat restoration.

Blue-winged Teal

Scientific name: Spatula discors

Life span: 5-10 years

Size: 40-47 cm (16-19 in)

Weight: 280-420 g (9.9-14.8 oz)

Wingspan: 58-63 cm (23-25 in)

Status: Least Concern

Blue-winged Teals, small dabbling ducks in North and South America, exhibit striking features. Males have a blue wing patch, chestnut head, and speckled body, while females display mottled brown with a pale eye ring.

Fun fact: Blue-winged Teals are remarkable long-distance migrants, covering thousands of kilometers during annual migration.

Blue-winged Teal

They nest in concealed sites near water, creating nests with grass and down feathers. Blue-winged Teals have a versatile diet, including aquatic plants, seeds, insects, and small invertebrates. Wetland conservation efforts have stabilized their population, emphasizing the significance of healthy ecosystems for migratory waterfowl.

Gadwall

Scientific name: Mareca strepera

Life span: 5-10 years

Size: 46-56 cm (18-22 in)

Weight: 800-1,350 g (1.8-3 lb)

Wingspan: 81-95 cm (32-37 in)

Status: Least Concern

Gadwalls, found across Europe, Asia, and North America, are medium-sized dabbling ducks with a gray-brown plumage. Males have a black rear and white speculum.

Fun fact: Gadwalls are known for their subtle courtship displays compared to other duck species.

Gadwall

They nest in concealed sites near water, using reeds and grasses for protection. Gadwalls have an adaptable diet, consuming aquatic plants, seeds, and invertebrates. Conservation efforts focus on preserving wetland habitats, highlighting the need for wetland conservation.

Green-winged Teal

Scientific name: Anas crecca

Life span: 5-10 years

Size: 33-38 cm (13-15 in)

Weight: 150-400 g (5.3-14.1 oz)

Wingspan: 53-59 cm (21-23 in)

Status: Least Concern

Green-winged Teals, small dabbling ducks in North and South America, display a mix of brown, green, and chestnut plumage in males, while females have mottled brown patterns.

Fun fact: Despite their small size, Green-winged Teals are swift flyers, reaching impressive speeds during migration.

Green-winged Teal

They nest in concealed areas near water, creating nests in grassy depressions. Their herbivorous diet includes aquatic plants, seeds, and grains, with occasional consumption of aquatic invertebrates. Conservation actions have focused on preserving wetland habitats, crucial for their breeding and migratory patterns.

American Black Duck

Scientific name: Anas rubripes

Life span: 5-10 years

Size: 54-63 cm (21-25 in)

Weight: 727-1,380 g (1.6-3 lb)

Wingspan: 91-102 cm (36-40 in)

Status: Least Concern

American Black Ducks inhabit wetlands in eastern North America, distinguished by dark brown plumage, pale face, and yellowish bill.

Fun fact: American Black Ducks are known for hybridizing with other species, making them subjects of interest in hybridization studies.

American Black Duck

They nest in concealed sites within marshes, wetlands, and grassy areas, ensuring protection for their offspring. Their diet is adaptable, including aquatic plants, seeds, grains, and invertebrates. Conservation efforts, including wetland protection and hunting management, have stabilized their populations, emphasizing the importance of preserving their genetic integrity.

Ring-necked Duck

The Ring-necked Duck, scientifically known as Aythya collaris, has a lifespan of 5-10 years. It is a medium-sized duck, measuring 39-46 cm (15-18 in) and weighing between 680-1,360 g (1.5-3 lb). With a wingspan of 63-76 cm (25-30 in), these ducks are categorized as “Least Concern.”

These ducks are widespread, inhabiting North America, Europe, and Asia. The males sport striking black plumage, accentuated by a distinctive white ring around their bills, while females display a mottled brown pattern. Ring-necked Ducks are renowned for their impressive diving abilities, capable of staying submerged for up to a minute.

A female Ring-Necked Duck in flight

Nesting behavior involves selecting concealed sites within wetland habitats, often amid dense vegetation like cattails and reeds, near the water’s edge. Their diet primarily consists of aquatic plants, seeds, grains, and various aquatic invertebrates, showcasing their adaptability.

Conservation efforts focus on preserving and restoring wetland habitats, recognizing the ecological importance of Ring-necked Ducks and the need for suitable breeding and feeding areas.

Bufflehead

The Bufflehead, scientifically named Bucephala albeola, boasts a lifespan of 12-15 years. These small diving ducks, measuring 32-40 cm (13-16 in) and weighing 270-550 g (9.5-19.4 oz), with a wingspan of 46-54 cm (18-21 in), are categorized as “Least Concern.”

Found across North America, Bufflehead males showcase eye-catching black and white plumage with iridescent green and purple head feathers. Females, similar in pattern, feature a chestnut-colored head. Remarkably, Buffleheads have incredibly fast wingbeats, reaching speeds of up to 400 beats per minute.

Close-up photo of a male Bufflehead

Their nesting behavior involves a preference for concealed sites in tree cavities or nesting boxes near water, often in wooded areas. Buffleheads primarily feed on aquatic invertebrates like insects, crustaceans, and mollusks, utilizing their small size and agile diving abilities.

Conservation efforts include maintaining suitable nesting habitats through nesting boxes and preserving natural tree hollows, contributing to the conservation of this charismatic diving duck.

Ruddy Duck

Oxyura jamaicensis, or the Ruddy Duck, has a lifespan of 6-8 years. These ducks, measuring 36-43 cm (14-17 in) and weighing 430-790 g (0.95-1.74 lb), with a wingspan of 61-74 cm (24-29 in), fall under the “Least Concern” category.

Inhabiting wetlands in North and South America, male Ruddy Ducks exhibit a vibrant chestnut body, blue bill, and a white cheek patch. Females have a more subtle brown plumage with a dark crown. Notably, they engage in a distinctive courtship display called the “bubble display.”

A pair of Ruddy Ducks

Their nesting behavior involves hidden sites among emergent vegetation near water, creating nests within dense plant growth for egg protection. Ruddy Ducks primarily consume aquatic plants, insects, and small fish, showcasing adaptability to both plant and animal food sources.

Conservation initiatives support Ruddy Ducks by preserving wetland habitats and creating nesting sites, recognizing their unique appearance and behaviors as focal points for wetland conservation.

Canvasback

The Canvasback, Aythya valisineria, is a diving duck with a lifespan of 10-15 years. These ducks, measuring 48-56 cm (19-22 in) and weighing 1,270-1,800 g (2.8-4 lb), with a wingspan of 84-89 cm (33-35 in), are categorized as “Vulnerable.”

Breeding in North America and wintering in parts of the United States and Mexico, male Canvasbacks exhibit a striking reddish-brown head, black chest, and white body. Females have a mottled brown appearance. Notably, Canvasbacks are known for their exceptional diving abilities, capable of diving up to depths of 6 meters (20 feet).

Close-up photo of a male Canvasback

Their nesting behavior involves a preference for grassy areas near water bodies, creating nests among reeds and grasses. The Canvasback’s diet primarily consists of aquatic plants, including submerged vegetation and algae, as well as invertebrates like mollusks and crustaceans obtained through diving.

Conservation efforts focus on maintaining suitable habitat conditions, including wetlands and aquatic vegetation, contributing to the conservation of this distinctive diving duck species.

Greater Scaup

Aythya marila, or Greater Scaups, are diving ducks found across North America, Europe, and Asia. With a lifespan of 10-20 years, these ducks measure 41-51 cm (16-20 in) and weigh 900-1,600 g (2-3.5 lb), with a wingspan of 81-87 cm (32-34 in). They are categorized as “Least Concern.”

Males showcase blackheads, white sides, and a pale blue bill, while females have a more subdued brown plumage. Greater Scaups are expert divers, capable of plunging as deep as 8 meters (26 feet) to forage for mollusks and crustaceans.

A resting Greater Scaup

Their nesting behavior involves selecting concealed sites in dense vegetation near water, creating nests among reeds, grasses, and other plant materials for egg protection. The Greater Scaup’s diet primarily consists of aquatic invertebrates, mollusks, and crustaceans, captured using their specialized bills for filtering and capturing food from the water.

Conservation actions concentrate on preserving wetland habitats, crucial for the breeding and feeding success of Greater Scaups, contributing to the conservation of this diving duck species.

Hooded Merganser

The Hooded Merganser, scientifically known as Lophodytes cucullatus, is a small diving duck indigenous to North America. Male Hooded Mergansers showcases a striking black-and-white pattern with a prominent crest on their heads, while females exhibit a cinnamon-brown crest and a mottled brown body.

During courtship, male Hooded Mergansers engage in a distinctive behavior, expanding and displaying their crests to attract females. Their nesting behavior involves selecting tree cavities near water bodies, providing protection for their eggs and young ducklings.

Hooded Mergansers primarily consume small fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans through skilled diving and underwater hunting. Conservation initiatives focus on maintaining suitable nesting habitats, including the preservation of wetland areas.

Hooded Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

The Red-breasted Merganser, scientifically termed Mergus serrator, is a diving duck found in North America, Europe, and Asia. Male Red-breasted Mergansers display a shaggy crest, reddish-brown neck, and gray body, while females present a more subdued brown appearance.

Known for their underwater agility, Red-breasted Mergansers can swim with their wings while pursuing fish prey. They nest in concealed sites near water bodies, often choosing well-hidden locations among rocks, vegetation, or beach dunes.

Red-breasted Mergansers primarily feed on small fish, crustaceans, and aquatic insects. Conservation initiatives support these ducks by preserving coastal habitats and offering nesting opportunities.

Red-breasted Merganser

Black Scoter

The Black Scoter, scientifically named Melanitta americana, is a sea duck breeding in northern North America and Eurasia. Male Black Scoters exhibit all-black plumage with a yellow knob on their bill, while females have a brown coloration.

Notably, Black Scoters undertake incredible long-distance migrations, covering over 3,000 miles annually. Their nesting behavior involves concealed sites in tundra habitats, often nesting on the ground for protection.

The diet of Black Scoters primarily consists of mollusks, crustaceans, and marine invertebrates, acquired through proficient diving to significant depths. Conservation efforts prioritize protecting breeding habitats in the Arctic and preserving marine environments.

Black Scoter

Common Goldeneye

The Common Goldeneye, scientifically identified as Bucephala clangula, is a diving duck inhabiting North America, Europe, and Asia. Male Common Goldeneyes present striking black and white plumage with a golden-yellow eye and a conspicuous white patch on their face.

These ducks exhibit nesting behavior, often choosing tree cavities near water for protection. Common Goldeneyes possess incredible underwater vision, allowing them to spot prey even in murky waters.

The diet of Common Goldeneyes mainly comprises aquatic invertebrates, including insects and crustaceans, along with small fish and plant material. Conservation actions focus on maintaining suitable nesting habitats and ensuring an abundance of food resources.

Common Goldeneye

White-winged Scoter

The White-winged Scoter, scientifically referred to as Melanitta fusca, is a sea duck found in both North America and Eurasia. Male White-winged Scoters boast all-black plumage with distinctive white patches on their wings, while females exhibit a dark brown appearance.

Two male White-Winged Scoters in flight

An intriguing fact about White-winged Scoters is their impressive strength and speed during flight, capable of reaching speeds up to 80 km/h (50 mph) during migration. This highlights their adaptability and agility in their natural environment.

When it comes to nesting behavior, White-winged Scoters prefer concealed sites near coastal waters, often utilizing well-vegetated areas or dunes for protection during the nesting period.

Their diet primarily consists of mollusks, crustaceans, and other aquatic invertebrates. Proficient divers, they plunge to significant depths to find prey, emphasizing their specialization in nearshore environments.

Conservation efforts for White-winged Scoters concentrate on preserving coastal habitats and maintaining healthy prey populations. The species’ reliance on nearshore environments underscores the importance of coastal ecosystem conservation.

Surf Scoter

  • Scientific name: Melanitta perspicillata
  • Life span: 10-20 years
  • Size: 45-54 cm (18-21 in)
  • Weight: 710-1,980 g (1.6-4.4 lb)
  • Wingspan: 76-91 cm (30-36 in)
  • Status: Least Concern

Surf Scoters are sea ducks native to North America. Males exhibit a bold black body, white patches on the forehead and nape, and a bright orange bill, while females display a more subdued brown plumage.

A Surf Scoter flapping its wings in the water

Surf Scoters’ nesting behavior involves concealed nesting sites near coastal waters, often on the ground, utilizing well-vegetated areas or dunes for protection. Their diet primarily comprises mollusks, crustaceans, and other aquatic invertebrates, and they are skilled divers capable of diving to considerable depths.

Conservation efforts focus on preserving coastal habitats and maintaining healthy populations of their prey species, highlighting the importance of coastal ecosystem conservation.

Harlequin Duck

  • Scientific name: Histrionicus histrionicus
  • Life span: 5-12 years
  • Size: 15-18 in / 38-46 cm
  • Weight: 1.2-1.4 lbs / 550-650 g
  • Wingspan: 26-29 in / 66-74 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Found in North America and Eurasia, the Harlequin Duck is a striking waterfowl with vibrant plumage. Males boast bold patterns resembling clown costumes, while females flaunt more subtle elegance.

A close up of a Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Ducks’ nesting behavior involves concealed nesting sites near fast-flowing streams and rivers, often among rocky crevices or in protected areas along the water’s edge. Their diet consists mainly of aquatic invertebrates, and they are agile divers, navigating fast-flowing rivers with ease.

Conservation initiatives for Harlequin Ducks emphasize the protection of their riverine habitats and nesting areas, contributing to wetland conservation.

Barrow’s Goldeneye

  • Scientific name: Clangula hyemalis
  • Life span: 12-15 years
  • Size: 15-18 in / 38-46 cm
  • Weight: 1.3-2.0 lbs / 600-900 g
  • Wingspan: 24-30 in / 61-76 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Inhabiting North America and Iceland, Barrow’s Goldeneye showcases iridescent green-black plumage and a distinctive white oval patch on its face. This skilled diver nests in tree cavities near freshwater.

A swimming female Barrow’s Goldeneye

Barrow’s Goldeneyes’ nesting behavior involves selecting concealed nesting sites in tree cavities near water, often using natural or artificial nesting cavities for protection. Their diet primarily consists of aquatic invertebrates, and they are proficient divers capable of diving to significant depths.

Conservation efforts focus on preserving suitable nesting habitats and maintaining healthy populations of their prey species, contributing to wetland conservation.

 King Eider

  • Scientific name: Somateria spectabilis
  • Life span: 10-15 years
  • Size: 20-28 in / 51-71 cm
  • Weight: 3.1-5.1 lbs / 1.4-2.3 kg
  • Wingspan: 31-35 in / 79-89 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

King Eiders grace the Arctic seas of North America and Eurasia. Males exhibit a vibrant mix of white, black, and pale blue on their bodies, with strikingly colorful bills setting them apart.

A King Eider showing its wings

King Eiders’ nesting behavior involves nesting in tundra habitats near coastal waters, often among vegetation or rocky areas. Their diet primarily consists of mollusks, crustaceans, and other marine invertebrates, and they dive to obtain their prey.

Conservation initiatives emphasize the protection of their Arctic breeding grounds and the preservation of marine habitats during migration, contributing to the conservation of this unique sea duck.

Eurasian Wigeon

  • Scientific name: Mareca penelope
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 18-22 in / 46-56 cm
  • Weight: 1.0-1.5 lbs / 450-650 g
  • Wingspan: 28-31 in / 71-79 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Spanning Europe, Asia, and North America, the Eurasian Wigeon is a dabbling duck with intricate markings. Males showcase a pale blue forewing, while females exhibit a warm chestnut head.

A female Eurasian Wigeon swimming

Eurasian Wigeons’ nesting behavior involves concealed nesting sites near water bodies, often in grassy areas, utilizing vegetation for cover to protect their eggs and ducklings. Their diet primarily consists of aquatic plants, seeds, and small invertebrates, and they are versatile feeders foraging both on land and in water.

Conservation efforts focus on preserving wetland habitats and maintaining suitable areas for feeding and nesting, emphasizing the importance of wetland conservation for migratory species.

Common Merganser

  • Scientific name: Mergus merganser
  • Life span: 5-12 years
  • Size: 22-25 in / 56-64 cm
  • Weight: 2.2-3.1 lbs / 1.0-1.4 kg
  • Wingspan: 26-30 in / 66-76 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Native to North America, Europe, and Asia, the Common Merganser is an elegant fish-eating bird. Males showcase a stunning contrast of black and white with a striking green head, while females flaunt a more subdued rusty-chestnut crest.

A close up photo of a Common Merganser

Common Mergansers’ nesting behavior involves selecting concealed nesting sites in tree cavities near water, often choosing natural or artificial nesting cavities for protection. Their diet primarily consists of fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans, and they are proficient divers using their streamlined bodies to navigate underwater for food.

Conservation actions focus on maintaining suitable nesting habitats and preserving healthy fish populations, underlining their role as top predators in aquatic ecosystems and the importance of balanced food webs.

Common Eider

  • Scientific name: Somateria mollissima
  • Life span: 15-20 years
  • Size: 20-28 in / 51-71 cm
  • Weight: 3.3-5.5 lbs / 1.5-2.5 kg
  • Wingspan: 30-40 in / 76-102 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Roaming across the Northern Hemisphere, the Common Eider is a large sea duck. Males exhibit a distinctive white plumage with a hint of green on their heads, while females are well-camouflaged with mottled brown patterns.

Common Eider

Common Eiders’ nesting behavior involves nesting in sheltered areas near coastal waters, often selecting rocky habitats or concealed sites among vegetation for protection. Their diet primarily consists of mollusks, crustaceans, and other marine invertebrates, diving to considerable depths to obtain their prey.

Conservation initiatives emphasize the protection of coastal habitats, including nesting and foraging areas, recognizing their economic and ecological significance and underscoring the importance of their conservation.

Where to find Ducks in Maine

To observe ducks in Maine, head to wetland habitats, lakeshores, and coastal areas. Bring binoculars and a field guide to identify different species.

Four prime locations include:

  • Scarborough Marsh, where expansive salt marshes attract various ducks;
  • Acadia National Park’s ponds, home to Mallards and Wood Ducks;
  • Sebasticook Lake, a hotspot for diving ducks such as Common Goldeneyes and Buffleheads;
  • Sabattus Pond, offering a chance to spot Ring-necked Ducks and American Black Ducks.

Stay quiet, respect their space, and visit during migration seasons for optimal viewing. Patience and keen observation will reward you with a delightful duck-watching experience in Maine’s diverse ecosystems.

Final Thoughts

In Maine’s diverse landscapes, ducks play a vital role in the intricate tapestry of wetlands, lakes, and coastal waters. Their nesting behaviors, dietary habits, and conservation stories underscore the need to preserve and protect these habitats.

Through mindful observation and conservation efforts, we can ensure the continued presence of these remarkable waterfowl for generations to come.

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends. Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all. Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
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